It’s perhaps a sign of the times when amid a massive bee depopulation crisis, and with Canada hoping to breed a new species of genetically resilient bees, the neighborhood of Wildomar in California was swarmed with killer bees that killed one dog and threatened the safety of several residents. And as the incident unfolded, it brought back long held fears over killer populations of killer bees that swarm wildly and attack at the drop of a hat. And so as less dangerous bee populations decline, these new populations increase and thrive.
Like the scene from a horror movie, the bees swarmed one family’s home and killed their chocolate lab leaving a problem and a rift between neighbors in their wake. The disaster started when the bees came across another colony residing in the trunk of an old tree. Finding the queen of the old hive, the new hive of killer bees killed the queen and replaced her, turning the old standing army of peaceful honey making bees into a dangerous platform from which the bees waged war on the neighborhood. The neighbors were contacted, and the old stump was cut down. But the scent from these new bees was already in the neighborhood. And the stump, which couldn’t be removed safely yet, remained in the area covered by a tarp. And that’s when the trouble began. The bees, sensing their home had been disrupted, began an attack on the neighborhood and even after attacking the neighbor’s beloved family pet would not let up. And in the wake of the disaster, more residents started reporting attacks.
Of course on its surface, it’s still a simple incident – one which could be easily dealt with in time and hopefully without any additional danger to residents. But it is a solid reminder of the problems the US once feared from Killer Bees after the first samples escaped from a lab in South America and began their long trek northward. These fears were so bad at one point that they inspired several films on the subject where the monster was not a reanimated boogeyman or an alien invader from beyond the stars, but the same creatures that are so commonly seen in happy spring time motifs thought to be the bringers of honey and the pollinators of our crops.
But of course there is one other question that arises from this in the wake of Canada’s program to breed more resilient bees. We previously mentioned the possibility of a more resilient bee species designed to withstand the hardships of the new decade since the populations first started dropping out and dying due to the often misunderstood “Colony Collapse Disorder.” So what happens when these stronger more resilient bees are replaced by the expansionist killer bees slowly making their way across the United States even today? When the Canadian bees move south and the Killer bees move north, eventually the two breeds will meet. And while it may sound like the plot to a Stephen King novel, this is another factor of the genetic testing going on now that we may one day have to deal with – or have future generations deal with. In the mean time we can only hope for a safe resolution in Wildomar.